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US stocks rangebound ahead of more key earnings, Fed minutes, speakers

Published 20/05/2024, 10:06 am
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Investing.com -- U.S. stocks traded in tight ranges Monday, with investors cautious ahead of more cues on interest rates and earnings this week. 

At 09:35 ET (13:35 GMT), Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 16 points, or 0.1%, while S&P 500 rose 5 points, or 0.1%, and NASDAQ Composite rose 50 points, or 0.3%. 

More Fed cues, PMI data on tap this week 

The focus this week is squarely on more cues from the Federal Reserve on the future path of interest rates, with the minutes of the central bank’s late-April meeting due on Wednesday. 

Fed officials had kept rates steady at that meeting and warned that they needed more confidence that inflation was coming down. But Fed Chair Jerome Powell had also said that rates were eventually expected to come down in 2024. 

Several Fed officials are also set to speak this week, with particular focus on the members of the Fed’s rate-setting committee. 

The Fed cues come amid increased focus on the bank’s plans to cut interest rates, especially after slightly softer inflation readings for April pushed up hopes for a September rate cut. 

Beyond more cues on interest rates, markets were also awaiting purchasing managers index data for May, which is set to offer more cues on U.S. business activity. Any signs of cooling could factor into the outlook for interest rate cuts.

Wall St loses momentum after record highs 

Wall Street indexes made new highs last week, but they were seen running out of momentum amid uncertainty over just when the Fed could begin trimming rates.

Overheated valuations, particularly in the technology sector, and cooling hype over artificial intelligence also limited just how high indexes could push.

Nvidia Q1 earnings due this week 

Focus this week was also on quarterly earnings from AI darling Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA), to see whether the firm could justify a massive increase in valuation over the past year. 

Nvidia is also expected to report a substantial increase in earnings, with revenue expected at $24.8 billion from $7.2 billion last year, while earnings per share are expected at $5.57 from $1.09 last year, according to Reuters estimates. 

Nvidia’s earnings are also expected to likely determine the trajectory of other tech stocks, given their increasing exposure to AI. 

Elsewhere, JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) stock rose 0.3% after the investment bank raised its forecast for net interest income, or the difference between what it makes on loans and pays out on deposits.

Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) stock rose 3.8% after Bloomberg reported that activist investor Elliott Investment Management had built a stake worth more than $1 billion in the building solutions provider.

Paramount Global (NASDAQ:PARA) stock climbed 1% after the New York Times reported that Sony and Apollo Global Management (NYSE:APO) have signed non-disclosure agreements that will allow them to look at the U.S. media company's books ahead of a potential bid for its assets.

Crude lower amid Iran uncertainty 

Crude prices edged lower Monday, handing back some of last week’s gains, amid political uncertainty after Iran's president died in a helicopter crash.

By 09:35 ET, the U.S. crude futures (WTI) traded 0.7% lower at $79.05 per barrel, while the Brent contract dropped 0.6% to $83.48 per barrel.

Iranian state media said bad weather caused the crash on Sunday, and the death of Ebrahim Raisi, a hardliner long seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, comes amid simmering tensions in the oil-rich Middle East.

Israel is at war with the militant group Hamas in Gaza, while Israel and Iran have launched strikes against each other earlier this year.

Brent had ended the previous week up about 1%, its first weekly gain in three weeks, while WTI rose 2% on improved economic indicators from the U.S. and China, the world's largest oil consumers.

(Ambar Warrick contributed to this article.)

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